Monthly Archives: December 2008

Chocolate Chipotle self-saucing pudding

Chocolate self-saucing pudding

Okay, I seem to have no willpower against self-saucing puddings. Next up: chocolate. I used this recipe as a base. But, instead of water, I made some changes. Oh yes, indeed, I did. The recipe follows:

I will admit that I was a little bit worried. The pudding part was extremely liquid — almost to the runny batter stage. But, since I have already gone to the effort of making a batch, I carried on.

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Americanized honey

Popeyes Honey Sauce

How does one improve honey? I am not saying that it needs improvement. But, apparently Popeyes does. Take a look at the ingredients list. Honey is first. Which is good. But then they add sugars. All different kinds. And then because the honey has been watered down, they add color and “natural flavor” back in. Okay I guess. Now what is really confusing is why they add so many different versions of the same thing. Honey contains fructose and glucose. Corn syrup contains glucose. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contains more fructose than glucose (making it sweeter and therefore more appealing to consumers). Sugar contains sucrose. Fructose is pure fructose. So it seems that HFCS is redundant. And you can reduce it further because honey contains fructose and glucose. You just need sucrose and perhaps some fractional amount of either fructose or glucose to get the percentages correct.

All of this tweaking is odd to begin with. Isn’t honey sweet enough to begin with? If it is a cost issue then ditch honey altogether and just use “natural flavor”, caramel color, and what ever sweetener is cheap enough for you.

Mango self-saucing pudding

Mango self-saucing pudding

I came across this recipe for a self-saucing pudding and thought it sounded interesting. The results were disappointing. It was not mangoie enough for me. Perhaps the next time, I should remove the water and use only mango juice (for a total of 1 1/2 cups). And, at the same time, remove the sugar from the sauce. Oh, and some salt too. I don’t know why salt is missing here.

However, when I search for “self-saucing pudding” on google, the first couple of hits are for chocolate puddings. Now those sound more enticing than a second try at mango pudding…

I will say that the whole concept of this recipe seems like a fortuitous mistake. You take a cookie recipe, pour a lot of liquid on it, and then bake it. I would have guessed that the cake part of it would not have survived the boiling liquid. But it did.


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Tichu Strobist

Tichu Strobist

Well, given that I was playing around with some Strobist techniques that I recently learned, I wondered how it would hold up for game photography. So I whipped out my metal Tichu box. And substituted it for the can of peanuts place-holder.

Since I was already lighting the background separately, I played around with adding a background Dragon shadow. And I learned that it is surprisingly difficult to cut and place one properly so it it will it would be easily recognizable.

One thing that I learned about the flash was to use the multi-stroboscopic mode (around 30Hz or so) and press the test button. It looks exactly like a flash light and you can get an idea what the shadow will look like. Don’t hold the button down too long, it tends to overheat the flash bulb.

Disc Golf 12/20/2008

Christmas Scenes

It seems that there are a bunch of Christmas scenes that have been painted and placed in Old Settler’s Park.

Hole 17

The day was beautiful out. It was nice and warm but overcast. Certainly much warmer than tomorrow would turn out. Only one birdie on hole 17.

Food Strobist Test Shot

Food Strobist Setup

After watching the Strobist Lighting Seminar, I decided to apply one of the lessons to see if it could be done with food photography. Since it was a proof of concept, I just grabbed a can of nuts that was just sitting around. I wanted to have two different lighting tasks. Light only the item on display. Light the background separately. My camera gear for this setup is the following:

  • A – Canon EOS 1D Mark III (manual mode: 1/250th second, f/5.0, ISO 200)
  • B – Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
  • C – Pocket Wizard MultiMAX (master)
  • D – Pocket Wizard MultiMAX (slave, channel A)
  • E – Canon Speedlite 580EXII (manual, 1/4th power, 14mm zoom)
  • F – LiteDome Q39
  • G – Pocket Wizard MultiMAX (slave, channel B)
  • H – Canon Speedlite 580EX (manual, 1/8th +0.7 power, 50mm zoom) (Roscolux #4790 90 magenta)
  • I – gobo (which stands for go-between) (a punchcard of all things)
  • J – foam-core board with black foam sheets taped to the visible top
  • K – Sekonic L-758DR light meter
Food Strobist Test Shot

And this is the final result! How cool! It is the first time that I have used two different zones of light, the first time I have used a color gel on a flash, and the first time that I have used a gobo to block the light from hitting something (in this case, the can).

Lit with front strobe

Here is how it looks when it is lit only with the front strobe.

Lit with rear strobe

Here is how it looks when it is lit only with the rear strobe.

Using white foam core

By the way, this is how it looks using a white foam core board. Which turned out to be too bright white and not enough magenta.

Game Day 12/19/2008

Game #1

Steel Driver

With the holidays and all, another game day was in order. First up was Steel Driver. In this game, I tried a different strategy. Well, I tried two different things. I saved up my bid so that I could higher and therefore build longer on later turns. I also avoid trying to maximize my build score and focus on cheap routes, but longer term prospects. In the end, since I didn’t get two shares a round like everyone else, my score suffered. The number of shares really does matter. And it seemed that building tactically for maximal score was better than encouraging long term planning and cooperation. Which reduces my rating of this game slightly.

Game #2

Le Havre

Next up was Le Havre. This game is pretty Agricola-like and I struggle to find reasons to own the two. Le Havre’s problem is that the game exponentially bogs down as more and more new cards are added to the mix of available buildings.

In this game, Mike shipped (goods for money) four times and I only did that once. I believe that this was the difference in our scores. I was able to build two luxury liners to his one. But he still beat me in points.